The yoga mat can be such a sanctuary and a yoga class should always be a safe place. I want my students to feel comforted and held as my belief is that people who feel safe will relax into themselves enough to allow their inner wisdom to arise. Threat closes people off to growth as they expend their energy in fear, so I have made a strong case to myself, for not bringing up politics or current events when I teach. We all need to be able to retreat to a safe space and regroup, right? I thought the decision to be a politics free zone at Quiet was settled. Oh, but the elephant in the room.
Just like our own inner darkness, political/societal challenges do not disappear just because we’re doing sticking our "head in the sand" pose.
Navigating politics from a teaching platform has been a challenge for awhile. How to address the elephant in the room and maintain a safe space for everyone was constantly in the back of my mind. Then I saw a T-shirt slogan. “Yoga is politics” Then I answered the poll question “why did you vote for candidate X?” With the answer “to protect my body”. And I realized that all along I had been talking about politics with my classes.
Politics is really just a reflection of how we treat ourselves as it is essentially a roadmap for how we treat others in groups. When we grow in self love we tend to put forth more inclusive legislation. When we mature beyond our egoic thinking we see that indeed we are all connected and suppressing any other humans hurts us all. When I step on the mat and take a deep breath and own my body I am making a political statement. It is a human right to have control over your body and when politics threatens this by caging people or threatening someone’s access to healthcare we must ground our feet to stand for what’s right. Everyone who is privileged to be growing must also be an ally to vulnerable people just fighting to exist. We must get strong on the mat so we can be soft in the world.
Every time we meditate and drop out of ego thinking we’re being political. It is the function of the ego to categorize and separate, to make rules and look for safety. It is the job of the ego to build walls. So, dropping down into our flesh is politics. Our hearts connect us to one another. Our intuition connects us to something bigger and when we feel connected we are simply kinder. When we grow kinder our politics tend to protect the vulnerable populations . It is only our small scared self that uses politics to control and divide. And so we meditate and breath and vote. Because these days there is no where politics is not. And that’s ok. Yoga and personal growth used to seem like luxury “products” to me. Now they are essential to heal our nation. As we learn to love ourselves we are participating in healing the world. And our politics is just a big mirror reflecting all of this back to us.
So, yea I’m gonna skip any political speech in my classes still and we’re just gonna keep on practicing our politics as we open our hearts and reach our hands out in friendship to the strangers among us. Because I think it's time for all of us to practice politics as we grow in love and leave the speeches for another day.